Monday, March 6, 2023

My February 2023 Reads

It is rare to read two books in the same month that you know will make your "Favorites list" at the end of the year but I thought these two historical novels were exceptional; I recommend both.

Historical Fiction
Horse by Geraldine Brooks (2022). This was one of my favorite reads in quite a while. Based on the remarkable true story of the record-breaking thoroughbred, Horse takes the reader from pre-Civil War slavery to the injustices of the present with vivid characters and a compelling narrative.  This was a great choice for a book group because there is a lot to discuss.  My review.

The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn (2022)(audio). In this luminous novel, Cristabel Seagrave discovers a dead whale on the beach near her home, which becomes a theatre for her, her sister, Flossie, and her brother, Digby, and their play-acting enriches their isolated childhood. Later, Cristabel and Digby need these skills to go undercover in France during WWII. My review.


Lost by Sharon Bolton (Lacey Flint #3). Lacey is still on leave from her traumatic experience in Oxford when she gets pulled into the mysterious disappearance and murders of young boys. I must have the UK edition – the other title is Like This, For Ever. I wish publishers didn’t do this!  I have now reread the whole series and hope Ms. Bolton is working on another.
Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie (1929).  This is part novel, part short story collection about Tommy and Tuppence, a dashing 20s detective team, who have gone undercover (although the bad guys were onto them all the time).  My review.

Alias Emma by Ava Glass (2022). Emma’s first big espionage assignment is to protect the son of Russian assets and deliver him safely to headquarters the next day, but everything goes wrong and nowhere is safe so Emma has to use her ingenuity to keep them both alive. This was great fun and I am looking forward to a sequel. My review.
Enemy of the Good by Matthew Palmer (2017). Kate is a second-generation Foreign Service officer, recently assigned to Kyrgyzstan, where her uncle is the U.S. ambassador to the country. Kate believes her parents were killed by the dictator of this country so she is willing to risk her life to bring him down when her uncle gives her a secret assignment.  This all just seemed too improbable, beginning with Kate being sent back to the country where her parents had died and it seemed unlikely her uncle would have become an ambassador there either.
The Alamut Ambush by Anthony Price (1971). In this second book in the series, former RAF pilot Hugh Roskill and Dr. David Audley are pulled into a plot involving Middle Eastern politics when an explosion kills a friend of Hugh’s. This is an interesting but extremely confusing novel.


The Setons by O. Douglas (1917). Elizabeth is the minister’s unmarried daughter who manages her father and young brother handily while assisting in parish life. However, as WWI breaks out, her Scottish community faces great stress and sorrow, which makes her reluctant to begin a new relationship, although an eligible young man has made himself available.
Contemporary Romance

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (2021)(audio). Poppy and Alex have been best friends since college in Chicago, although she moved to New York to become a travel writer and he is teaching English at the midwestern high school she could not wait to escape. They go on one vacation together yearly and both look forward to it – but how long can their platonic relationship continue? I really liked this book, told primarily in flashbacks.
Someone Else’s Bucket List by Amy Matthews (2023). When Jodie’s big sister Bree dies, Jodie is asked to carry out everything on Bree’s bucket list. Shy Jodie does not like the limelight but if she allows social media to cover her efforts, the enormous medical debt Jodie left will be paid off, saving Jodie’s family anguish and expense.  I think I am tired of this "bucket list" trope but I was glad Jodie got a happy ending.  


Happy Landings by Patti Bender (2023). Bender, a long-time fan of 20th-century bestselling author Emilie Loring, has written an entertaining biography that includes many quotations from Loring’s books. Although Loring’s books were somewhat formulaic, her warm and lively heroines brought the stories to life. My review.
Widows of the Ice by Anne Fletcher (2022). This fascinating book examines the results of Robert Falcon Scott's tragic Antarctica expedition on the men's wives and families, left behind, some without income after their men died. My review.

YA and Children’s Books
When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord (2022). Nothing will get in the way of Millie Price’s dream to become a Broadway star, especially her annoying drama club rival, Oliver. Then they begin a summer internship at the same place with predictable but entertaining results.

The Girl With the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts (1980). Katie has strange eyes and powers that cause other children to avoid or make fun of her, but when she and her mother move to the city, she hopes she can start fresh. Then a man moves into their apartment building and she is sure he is watching her. My review.
Picture Book

Hot Dog by Doug Salati (2022). The winner of the 2023 Caldecott Medal is a playful picture book featuring an overheated—and overwhelmed—dog whose owner plays with him on the beach to restore his happy nature. This book was cute but I was surprised it won the Caldecott as it did not seem special enough.

1 comment:

TracyK said...

It always amazes me how many books you read in a month. And so many types of fiction and nonfiction. Overall, it seems like you had a very good month.